Spotlight on Mr Jemedari : Uncovering the Swahili Hip-Hop General

I probably would have never talked to him if a friend hadn’t pushed me to make the first move (Thanks Mufasa). Even after attending his Kaya album launch in May at the exquisite Michael Joseph Center, I still wanted to know more. What’s the real story behind this guy called Mr. Jemedari?

I was quite honored when he tweeted last month that he wanted to guest on my show on USIU Radio. The music tables had turned. You know I couldn’t turn down the general.

So became the beginning of our relationship (Not in that way guys). When I learned of his next live performance gig, something inside begged me to attend. Again, it would cost me nothing at the gate.

mr jemedari js fresh bar westlands.png

This was my first time at Thursday Nite Live at Js Westlands (formerly Juniper Social), thanks to Jemedari. And boy did he bring the heat on that chilly July night. It was one full of endless surprises.

On that glowing stage, the Kenyan hip hop star became a burning ball of energy. Tendrils of steam steadily rose from his shiny head as he performed his popular Swahili tracks. This man was on fire.

It was a rare thing to see the swarm of black and white people (mostly white) waving their hands in the air like Biggie was there. We even got into a mduara and shook our kiunos, as instructed by the Swahili general. He turned us into his music soldiers.

On the Js Fresh Bar and Kitchen dance-floor, I was thrilled to meet some familiar creatives. Tetu Shani (who you could spot from afar), Gufy with his crew of Dorphan and Afrikan, Jeff the cool manager and Alex the bearded photographer of Live It Live. 

The lovely singers Ythera and Ms. Okinda were once again back on stage. And just like in his Kaya album launch, Jemedari also brought a live band. It was simply magical.

Before the end of his powerful set, he took us back to the 2000s with almost forgotten Kenyan hits. This sent the black community among us wild as we shouted the few Swahili lyrics we could remember from our younger days. 

I’m truly sorry if you missed it.

But this is not about Thursday Nite Live at Js. Sadly it cannot be relived. However, you can enjoy his radio interview on The Music Junkies over and over again.

mr jemedari on usiu radio.jpgOn this Swahili hip-hop show, he acknowledges those who’ve helped him rise in the Kenyan music scene, from Point Blank to Flag 42. We discuss his latest album Kaya, the idea behind Suits and Mics, and of course his beloved bike. It’s not everywhere you’ll hear his underground Kenyan music, or why he thinks you should leave hip hop to him.

I doubt this will make up for the event. But let’s see.

 

 

Every day I keep learning more about the usually cool dude from our conversations and seeing him live on stage. Why not catch up with Mr Jemedari on Instagram or Twitter (he’s a real fan btw). You really don’t want to miss the general’s next appearance or gig.

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